BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Only one day has passed since Baton Rouge law enforcement officers were target and ambushed by a gunman. Although it's only been one day, the process of healing seems to be one the entire city of Baton Rouge has struggled with for several weeks.
"We just got to pause. We got to think about all the families in this community that's hurting, not just one or two - all of them."
Those words from the former chief of the Baton Rouge Police Department, Jeff LeDuff. During the six years he served as chief, he had to bury three of officers who were killed in the line of duty – the same number of men who died Sunday morning.
"I understand death. I have seen everything that can die, die, and I'm tired of it," he said. "This community lost a lot. But let me tell you what we didn't lose, he thought that when he dropped our officers on that ground that we were paralyzed, that we would stop, but you know what happened, he brought more out because those that were sitting at home, just like me, they put on their uniforms and they ran to it. That's what's in this community, that's what we have."
Officials confirm that Gavin Long from Kansas City, Missouri, opened fire on law enforcement officers from multiple agencies. It all happened less than a mile from the Baton Rouge Police Headquarters.
"We don't choose this job, it chooses us," LeDuff said. "We follow it because we want to serve. We don't want to be slain."
LeDuff hopes that Sunday's tragedy can allow one positive for the city.
"We don't' talk anymore. We don't communicate anymore. We have to," he said. "This is what I want Baton Rouge to do today. I want every person in Baton Rouge to find somebody who's different...Go find somebody that looks different than you and you extend your hand and you say 'My name is such and such, this is what I like. What do you like?' When you get beyond that color, you'll find out that we're not that far apart."
"Shake the hand of a cop. Ask him to explain to you today why they do what they do and you explain to him," he added. "Love on everyone today. Meet someone you never met before. That's the start."